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How To Connect With Yemaya? Goddess Yemaya Altar Setup, Offerings, & More

In recent years, a resurgence of mainstream interest in African Traditional Religions has led people from all backgrounds to seek connection with the Orishas, or Divine beings associated with natural elements worshipped in Yoruba culture.

Deities like the Orishas have evolved with changing cultures over time. Although the Orishas were originally worshipped in Western African cultures, reverence for these deities and the practices of worshipping them came with enslaved Africans who were taken from their homelands and brought to the Cuba, Brazil, and other countries.

Thus, reverence for the Orishas survived and merged with other traditions creating the Afro-Caribbean worship and customs still observed today.

One of the popular deities who has received much attention with this renewed interest is the ocean Goddess Yemaya. Yemaya is considered a significant deity in Santeria practice. She was originally a river Goddess in Africa who came to be known, associated with all waterways including the ocean.

So, how to connect with Yemaya? How to setup an altar for her? What are the various offerings for Yemaya? And finally How to talk to her? Let us see everything..

Firstly, Who is the Goddess Yemaya?

How To Connect With Yemaya? Goddess Yemaya Altar Setup, Offerings, & More
Fabio Panico via Flickr cc2.0

In order to connect with goddess Yemaya, you need to first know who she is. Yemaya is depicted as a mermaid and is a Mother Goddess associated with love, nurturing, and the power of the water element.

In Yoruba religion, Olodumare is the Supreme Being worshipped as the Creator of the Universe. Yemaya is one of his oldest children. She is one of the Seven Powers that give all blessings and protection to the world. Stemming from an oral tradition, specific details of Yemaya’s origins and lore vary in different regions where she is revered.

Yet she is universally recognized as a Mother Goddess who is the most nurturing of the Orishas. Her energy runs the spectrum of the gentle, loving mother to the fierce protective force of nature. Her name is said to mean “Mother whose children are fish.”

She can be generous and benevolent, but also vengeful when she is disrespected or needs to protect her creations. Because Yemaya’s worship in Cuba and other parts of the world was initially outlawed, practitioners disguised her symbolism in more overtly Catholic guises. She is thus sometimes portrayed as the Virgin Mary.

People appeal to Yemaya for help with matters of self-love, creativity, and healing. She gives protection and helps with family matters. Yemaya is a force to be reckoned with and should not be regarded frivolously.

How to Connect with Yemaya?

You can connect with Goddess Yemaya in several ways, according to various different cultural practices.

As said earlier, Yemaya is often depicted as an African woman or Woman of Color arising from the sea. She is sometimes depicted as a mermaid. She is associated with waterways and particularly with the ocean.

You can connect with her by leaving offerings of seashells and coconut cakes, molasses, and white flowers. Working with the Orishas is different from other spiritual practices from various religions.

Whereas in some cultures, the connection to a deity is one-sided and consists of passive prayer and meditation, practitioners of Santeria and Yoruba religions take an active role in building a relationship with the deities they revere.

You must be willing to cultivate a relationship with Yemaya and work with her on a regular basis rather than just appealing to this Goddess when you want her to solve a problem. One of the best ways to start inviting Yemaya into your life is to create an altar to this Goddess in your home.

Altar for Yemaya: Connecting with Yemaya by Creating an Altar for Her

Ideal Offerings for Yemaya:
Leandro Neumann Ciuffo via FlickrCC2.0

You can create an altar to Yemaya in the same way you would adorn an altar to the water element. Choose a small altar that is dedicated solely to the purpose of worshiping Yemaya.

Before using, bless this altar and dedicate this space specifically to this Goddess. Then, each day spend time meditating on her presence at this special altar.

When you meditate, imagine yourself surrounded by water and envision the Goddess Yemaya. Chant to her or play songs or soundtracks reminiscent of water or ocean life. The power of sound vibration resonates with Yemaya.

Decorate the altar with colors reminiscent of the water specifically blue and white. You can also decorate the altar with seashells and photos of sea life, fish, or mermaids. Statues to Yemaya such as mermaid statues or images of this Goddess are also a good addition to your altar.

Blue and white candles as well as glasses of water or salt water should be added to the Yemaya altar as well. Symbols associated with fish, the sea, and the water element are all important accents for your altar.

Other Ways to Connect with Yemaya

Yemaya is often associated with the Moon and worshipping this deity can be aligned with rituals that acknowledge and pay tribute to the cycles of the Moon.

She is sometimes depicted with seven skirts representing the seven seas. Thus, the number seven can be incorporated into your practices. Light seven blue candles or arrange seven sea shells in your meditation space. Give seven offerings or perform a ritual to Yemaya for seven consecutive evenings to appeal to this Goddess.

She is also sometimes depicted wearing tiny bells on her clothes and in her hair. The sound of bells can also be associated with this Goddess. Her sacred number is seven because it represents the Seven Powers and seven seas.

Yemaya is also associated with the peacock. Meditate on the peacock as a guide or use peacock feathers as a symbol on her altar to help you connect with Yemaya.

Her colors are blue and white, and she is associated with fish, fishing nets, and seashells or stones. You can also collect salt water to use as offerings to Yemaya.

She responds to petitions for protection, healing, self-love, and creativity.

Remember, working with Orishas is a two-way street. Avoid asking for favors without also leaving gifts and offerings for Yemaya in return. Also, give offerings to Yemaya regularly. Particularly if you are appealing to this Goddess for help.

Ideal Offerings for Yemaya:

Altar for Yemaya: Connecting with Yemaya by Creating an Altar for Her
Jinterwas via Flickrcc2.0

One of the best ways to work with Yemaya is to be generous with this deity. Visit the ocean or waterways when you can and physically leave offerings to her. You can also leave offerings in your sacred space. The best offerings to Yemaya are the ideal gifts for the Queen of the Ocean.

Shells, salt-water, and images of fish or sea creatures are great offerings. You can also show reverence for her by leaving offerings involving your personal energy and talents. Sing to her or play a musical instrument dedicating a special song to her. Chant her name or use your voice to chant or hum, connecting with her through the vibration of your voice.

You can also leave her offerings of flowers, fruits – especially melons, and white wine. Some people even leave her offerings of fish and other foods or sweets. Use the number seven and leave seven silver coins or seven bells as a tribute to her.

Other Important Aspects of Connecting/Talking with Yamaya:

Yemaya is the Queen of the Ocean and the ultimate Mother Goddess in Yoruba tradition. Though she is considered to have many children and creations she’s willing to protect and nurture, thus you must approach her with reverence.

For those outsides of the Yoruba culture, it is essential to be mindful of not appropriating serious religious practices. If you feel called to talk/work with Yemaya, take the time to study the lore and practices of the cultures from which she derives. Particularly people of European descent should take care to approach other cultures with respect and avoid repeating the patterns of appropriating and diminishing existing cultures.

Yemaya can be sought out as a source of strength and emotional healing as well as nurturing and protection. Yet connection with the Orishas is not to be undertaken lightly. When you work with the Orishas, you enter into a relationship with them and must be responsible and respectful about this relationship.

An important way to show respect for Yemaya is to act with reverence and care when working with the water element. Be mindful of the ways you may be contributing to the existing imbalances in the natural world and do what you can to protect water from further destruction.

Conclusion

Yemaya is one of the most nurturing and powerful Goddesses whose worship has expanded worldwide. People seek her wisdom and maternal presence when they need to heal traumas and wounds. She is also associated with protection.

Yemaya’s worship is emerging into the mainstream yet her reverence stems from cultures whose practices are often misunderstood. Santeria is growing in popularity yet is linked with specific cultural experiences and should not be appropriated for personal gain or profit.

While Yemaya is merciful and loving, she is also said to have a vengeful side that emerges when she needs to protect her children. Like the ocean, she can be calming but also forceful. She is said to represent the water element as a force of nature.

Angela Kaufman is a Certified Intuitive Consultant, Psychic Medium, Intuitive Empowerment, Life Coach and an LCSW. She is an amazon published author and was Featured on several shows like Discovery Channel’s A Haunting, Echoes from the Past (2007) 14 Degrees: A Paranormal Documentary, Tune In to Wellness Today with LisaMarie Tersigni, and Empowering Entrepreneurs with Melissa Carter as well as numerous radio interviews. She is the author of Queen Up! Reclaim Your Crown When Life Knocks You Down - Unleash the Power of Your Inner Tarot Queen and also co-authored three books on metaphysical spirituality (Sacred Objects, Sacred Space; Everyday Tools for the Modern Day Witch | Wicca What's the Real Deal? Breaking Through the Misconceptions | The Esoteric Dream Book; Mastering the Magickal Symbolism of the Subconscious Mind). Angela regularly conducts workshops, the Inner Queen coaching program and loves writing articles, that blend social criticism with spirituality.